From John Whitehurst6
ALS: American Philosophical Society
Derby 30 Jany 74
I cannot sufficiently express my obligations to you for this recent Instance of your great Civility. The family, also, to whom the favour is principally granted will ever remember it with Gratitude. Miss Moresby the young Lady whom Mr. West is so obliging to take under his Tuition is rendered extremely happy thro’ your kind intercession. She Seems to take a pleasure in no other sorts of amusement but drawing, which is a very unusual quality in Girls of her age, And is in every other respect worthy of Notice and Encouragement.
I am therefore in hopes your Worthy friend, will receive great pleasure from the instructions he is pleased to bestow upon her. I am apprehensive Sir that there is in the bottom of the box a Picture which has escaped your Notice, as you have not named it in your favour of the 27 Decr. If so please to inspect the box once more.
Mr. Moresby purposes bringing his Daughter to town Early in the Spring, to place her if possible in some convenient place, suitable to her attendance upon Mr. West, to whom I think my self much Obligd for the Countinance he is pleasd to give to the Arts.7 I am Sir your much obliged Humble Servant
The Clock and Case is £12: 12s: 0d., pray dispose of it if you can.
Addressed: To / Docr. Benj: Franklin / Craven Street / London
6. The Derby clock- and instrument-maker, for whom see above, IX, 42 n and subsequent volumes. The latest extant letter from him was written in the summer of 1772, but he and BF had obviously been in correspondence since then.
7. The disappearance of BF’s correspondence with Whitehurst in 1773 leaves us with no clue to Miss Moresby’s identity. Perhaps she had studied under the local master, Joseph Wright of Derby, until he left on his Italian tour the previous autumn, for which see the DNB. In any case Whitehurst had asked BF to get her admitted to Benjamin West’s atelier and had sent a sample of her work, doubtless enclosed with the clock mentioned in the postscript; BF had not acknowledged the drawing but had secured West’s consent to take her as a pupil. She came to London in the spring as planned, apparently with an aunt rather than her father; see Whitehurst’s note below, April 12.